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Help! I'm on sand and red clay.  RSS feed

 
James Johnson
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I would like to create Purmaculture areas on my land, But The land is irregular, Red clay base with sand on top.
There is NO soil on this place, Not even under the trees(Which are dying, Oaks and Hickerys.
I have a lot of dead fall which I could build beds such as shown on these pages, But would have to cover with sand.
this area is called the sand hills, with good reason.There is a sand pit that has been operating for many years about two miles
as the crow flies from here, Just to give you an Idea of what I'm faceing.

Why, You might ask, Would you Own such a place? Wife fell in love with it. Nuf Said.

If any body here has An idea I can use, It would be very healpfull.
Thanks,
The Old Goat
Seguin,Texas
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9696
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Personally I would use the sand as the "soil" in the hugelkultur and plant lots of green manures on there if you can't get sufficient actual manure.

 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1363
Location: northern California
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Consider biochar. Sandy warm-humid climate soils eat up directly applied organic matter really quickly....charring delays this process. I think you will have longer-lasting soil improvement with biochar than with hugelkultur....
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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What is your end goal?
 
Elizabeth Martin
Posts: 14
Location: Central Texas
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Well Mr Goat, I do believe we may be neighbors. We're just about 2 miles N of that very sand pit.

I compared the google images of our property from 2008 and the new images from 2011 and it's just shocking and disturbing how many trees have died over those three years. My best estimation is about 50 percent. I have found that of the three main species that occupy our 10 acres, post oak, black jack oak and hickory, about 95 percent of the trees that have died have been the black jack and just a few of the hickory and post oak.

The woods really were just too thick and a lot of the trees spindly and top heavy. By the time I see the diseased bark, it's usually less than 2 years before they fall. Far too many to keep up with, so I've focused on the standing dead near structures and fences. I feel lucky when they shed the limbs first, but many just topple over because the roots have wrotted and the trunk foot is balanced on a little cone of sand where the roots use to be. It is now thinned out and I've become very familiar with a chainsaw. lol All the dogs duck and prepare to run for cover when we hear that familiar crack! crash! lol

The 3-5 odd times I've been able to burn, over the past few years have barely touched the mountain of dead fall. Any way, it occurred to me a few months ago what a wealth of resource and opportunity that I have and visited permies again, pleased to find the very things I felt I should be doing seems to be naturally permish.

I've been thinking along the lines of Ludy's suggestions for beds and using logs cut to a lenghth of maybe 2-3 feet and stand on end. Abslolutly must put as much of that wood to use as possible in ways that will get it wet. For now I have a long list of projects with very little time. I just jump in when I can, and focus on what is applying the most pressure at the moment. lol I do have a few piles of bio char to add to beds we'll be building with all of the fallen trees nearest the areas we'll garden. It use to be that we didn't have enough sunlight anywhere to for much of a summer garden. Now there's so much sun every where and new species are starting to run over the little blue stem. I'm thinking we'll get a couple of hogs to deal with the johnson grass that came in on some bedding hay I use for the dogs over the winter.

I recently brought home a three year old mule. His name is Rayzen and his mother was a caspian. He's giving me some good manured hay. I have to repair a couple of fence lines before I'll let him roam and browse the native grasses, so he's on good cheap hay. He loves the stuff. lol He's coming along great and will hopefully provide many years of manure, hauling and running off the damn deer(!). lol I've been tether training him for now and I love not running the weedeater. I just never thought he would flip himself head over ass, but he did a fine job of it. lol

We are planning on inoculating some logs for mushrooms and stacking them in the shade that I have left on the south end of the property. The water source is close there as well. The neighbor waters some fruit trees along the fence on that end, so the trees on my side have benefited. I'd like to take advantage of that and spread it out across that property line as an effort to create a wetish fire break. Rain catchment is a must as well. Spring hills has just ruined the water over the years.

The next big "farm" project here is the chicken coop, followed by those 2 pigs my mom wants. Should be very interesting lol and holpefully productive. We are just getting things in to focus, so we're excited to keep rolling with gardens and livestock.

I think we have a great opportunity here in the sand hills. My mother has always said, she'd prefer to start with sand. That red clay deposit will make a great cob oven for baking bread and pizza and many other potential projects. We've made some test bricks using the little blue stem gathered on the property instead of bought straw and we produced a pretty sturdy brick.

I have to keep "rubish to resource" in mind or it really is overwhelming, although I must say I have just loved learning to run a chainsay. lol

 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 132
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
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my place was pure white sand and scraggly grass when i started...but after a lot of compost from the county dump, it has morphed into rich awesomness thriving with worms and bugs. lots of bugs. but theyre in the yard so its ok. the compost is like a fertilizer and a mulch at the same time. very important to keep the soil temperature down. and i dont have to water as much. my veggies are growing right in about 7 inches of compost, far above the nematode ridden sand.
if you were going to do a really large area it would be easier probably to get wood chips from a tree cutting service, if you can get them for free. there are trees where you are, right?
marjorie wildcrafts videos talk a lot about gardening in texas.
i dont know much about clay other than bulbs seem to grow well in it. and sweet potatoes dont.
 
All of the world's problems can be solved in a garden - Geoff Lawton. Tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - boots-to-roots
https://permies.com/t/59706/permaculture-bootcamp-boots-roots
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